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Full text of "My country and my people"

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will thereby sacrifice her national character and her heritage. On the other hand, I think it should stimulate the Chinese national character to newer and greater creative activities. Frankly, I am not worried. The Germans, the French, the English and the Americans have all participated in the building of this modern scientific culture without the loss of their national character; so why should China lose hers? The different nationalities have all their peculiar contributions to make, say, the Germans in music and science, the French in art and literature, the English in democratic government and the Americans in technological perfection and big-scale business efficiency, but such contributions must be on the basis of a cultural unity. The modern science of medicine is neither German nor French nor American; there is only one science of medicine. If the Chinese character is a living force, it will assert itself by its ability to make contributions to the common fund of knowledge; and if it is not, it is not worth having at all. A national character cannot mean anything except certain spiritual attitudes and mental and moral assets, which, under whatever circumstances, will show themselves. A living national genius should therefore create and produce. It should not be regarded as something dead and already achieved to be embalmed and preserved. A national heritage is not a museum piece. Chinese history has already proved the extraordinary vitality of this Chinese culture, surviving all political shocks without losing its continuity.
The question before China to-day is, however, not whether such progress and modernization are theoretically desirable, for modernization is an imperious necessity, if China is to adjust herself successfully to the new world environment and survive. The present circumstances compel us to believe that what matters most to-day is, whether modernization has gone far enough to give inner vitality to China's new nationalism to check and wear out and finally vanquish the ruthless Japanese war machine. It is no time now for China to choose the wise